How to be a gracious host
Whether it is a full-on dinner or a casual cocktail party, festive hosting doesn’t have to be a daunting or stressful experience. Here are our top three Christmas etiquette tips on how to be a gracious and polite host:
1. Be welcoming and let go of the temptation to control every little thing. It may seem obvious but go out of your way to make your guests feel at home, do not get annoyed over trivial matters and refrain from following them around and picking things up.
2. Accept offers of help. While it may seem easier to just do everything yourself, don’t turn your guests away if they offer to pitch in with food preparation, present wrapping or other tasks. As well as easing the burden on you, it is a way for them to repay your hospitality by making themselves useful.
3. Make sure you enjoy your time with your guests. Even if your to-do list is overflowing, remember that you have invited guests for a reason so set aside time to catch up on their news, play a board game or watch a Christmas movie together.
How to be the perfect guest
If you are staying with family or friends this holiday season, follow these Christmas etiquette tips to make your stay go as smoothly as possible and ensure that you are invited back.
1. Be be tidy and treat the space with respect. It doesn’t take much effort to make the bed and fold your clothes up neatly.
2. Always come bearing gifts. A bottle of wine or a box of chocolates are customary but if it’s a longer stay over Christmas think about something more substantial or personal like a voucher for a massage or a book by their favourite author.
3. Make yourself useful and offer to help with the cooking, laying the table or looking after the children. Do not expect your host to anticipate your every need and keep you fed and watered while you lounge on the sofa.
Dealing with family conflicts
It may be the ‘most wonderful time of year’ but Christmas is also a time when emotions can run high due to the stress and pressures of trying to create the perfect day. Whether it is your nephew complaining about the food or your mother-in-law making a snide remark about your outfit, hurt feelings can bring out the worst in us.
Try not to respond to rudeness by lowering your own standards and instead remain polite and kind in all your interactions. If you feel the anger taking over, step away from the situation even if it means locking yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes to calm down. Remember the Golden Rule: Do not let your mood affect your manners. Focusing on appreciation and gratitude will help create a more friendly and caring atmosphere.
In the meantime from all of us to all of you: